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Photos show a curtain dividing women from men at a university in Afghanistan

  • A curtain separates women and men who share classes at universities in Afghanistan, photos show.
  • The images are among the first to surface since college courses resumed after the Taliban takeover.
  • Reuters reported that other classrooms are imposing even stricter divisions between men and women.

Some universities in Afghanistan’s largest cites have resumed classes but are now segregating students according to sex, photos and interviews obtained by Reuters show.

Classes were on hiatus after the US ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan and after the Taliban quickly overtook its capitol city, Kabul, three weeks ago. Some students are now back in the classroom, though photos on social media show that the Taliban has already imposed changes to seating arrangements.

Two photos showed men and women in the same classroom but separated by gray curtains. The women in the photo are wearing head coverings and long robes.

Students in Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat told Reuters in interviews that women are also being taught separately or confined only to certain parts of campus.

Students attend class under new classroom conditions at Avicenna University in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 6, 2021, in this picture obtained by Reuters from social media.

Students attend class under new classroom conditions at Avicenna University in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 6, 2021, in this picture obtained by Reuters from social media.

Social media handout/via Reuters


The last time the Taliban was in power, from 1996 to 2001, girls were not allowed to attend school. The Taliban also forbade women from attending university or going to work.

“I really felt terrible when I entered the class,” Anjila, a 21-year-old female student at Kabul University told Reuters. “We are gradually going back to 20 years ago.”

Women sat separately from men before the Taliban takeover, but didn’t have any physical dividers between them.

The Taliban has said that women will be able to keep participating in society under Islamic law, but Afghan women have been protesting in recent weeks, fearful they’ll lose their rights and freedoms.

Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the acting minister for the Ministry of Higher Education, said last week that women could go to college but had to be taught by female professors and separated from male students.

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